Dance has been always important for Pancho
Pancho Martinez Pey is an Argentine dance teacher, choreographer, actor, singer and dancer who has had a large participation in various shows and theatre plays in which he has demonstrated his skills in those disciplines where he has become an expert in recent years, among which we can mention ”Casa Blanca”, ”Café Tortoni”, ”Michelangelo”, ”Esquina Carlos Gardel”, ”Sabor a Tango” and many more.
His father was a musician and second guitar player for Oscar Alemán in the 1970s, so he was always involved in the world of dance since he was eight years old and started learning to dance in a more professional way at the age of 12. However, the first time he had contact with tango was at 16, when he began to take his first steps in this particular genre. Three years later, he moved to Spain for a while to work as a drummer and singer in a musical group, with which he would tour the entire European country to offer his talent to the local public.
When they were not playing, they danced tango and Argentine folklore, which inspired him enough to devote himself entirely to tango in his country of origin, something that happened when a very young Pancho was just 22 years old. Once he was in his homeland, he worked as a ticket-taker at a train station for a few years while taking dancing lessons in the evenings, which trained and prepared him for his big break.
His big moment came when he was offered to participate in the piece ”Miguelangelo” together with Gloria and Eduardo Arquimbau, who formed one of the most emblematic couples of Argentine tango. He did not think twice about it and quit his job at the train station to go to dance professionally just as he does to the date.
In view of the fact that he was always used to listening to all kinds of music from a very young age, he had no trouble adapting to all the rhythms that he found in the way, such as folklore, tango, forró, swing, Argentine rock, among others.
He also enjoys singing very much and ensures he can sing all kinds of genres ”from K-Pop to tango”.
Combining dancing and singing with acting
When asked how he mixes dancing and singing with acting and all that histrionic part that makes his performances so particular, he says that his taste for this branch of the arts was also born in his childhood, since he always watched Argentine films in which dancing was very present and it goes without saying that they were always his favorites. Then, little by little, destiny led him to combine all these elements until he starred in his first important musical called ”Tanguera”. In this piece, participants did not talk or act too much, but they had to focus on putting on a good show at the level of dancing.
Another important musical in his career was ”Tita: Una Vida en Tiempo de Tango” with Nacha Guevara, which focused on the life and career of tango dancer and actress Tita Merello. This piece did require vocal talents between dialogues, so Pancho was finally able to show what he was made of as a singer.
All these facets have their degree of complexity, but the Argentinean performer thinks that the hardest part of his work is trying to combine all these areas, something a friend and colleague of his acted as a coach and helped him to train in the linking between singing, dancing and acting. He pointed out that this is a very strong training in which you have to control certain elements such as breathing, the air when dancing, concentration, among other details.
Role of man and woman in tango
According to Pancho, given that it is a dance of two, it is very important that both understand each other’s role in the dance. ”The leader leads and the other follows. In most cases, the leader is the man of the couple, who at the same time is the one who provides support and leads at the same time, while the follower has to follow the leader, but must also be an active member of the situation. Let’s remember that we are two people dancing and not one, so we are both active subjects in the dance. The woman expresses all her own beauty and sensuality, while the gentleman has that strength and guidance that, at the same time, seduces and makes his partner feel safe” said the artist.
How history and social changes have affected tango
Martínez explains that the World Tango championship gave a huge boost to this musical genre. It was always very popular in Argentina, but it did not have the importance it now has in most of the world. Tango came from a mixture of cultures in Buenos Aires, where the first lyrics of its social protest songs began to emerge. Tango has that popular and rebellious element coming from the people” explains the performer.
The golden age of tango was in the 1940s, when musicians and poets at the highest level began to emerge until foreign musical groups such as The Beatles or Elvis Presley appeared, who won over audiences of the time, which caused a temporary decline of tango. That is how matters stood until the early 1990s when the film Tango Argentino was released, which contributed significantly to the worldwide explosion of tango in those years and to improvement of techniques used for that dance”, he continued.
Finally, the dancer expressed his joy for the moment that tango is living nowadays, since he had never seen so many people interested in learning to dance it, both as entertainment and profession. He thinks that this current popularity is due to the need of people to connect with others after the pandemic and the multiple benefits that it brings at a mental level.
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